Nearly three lakh Indian travellers visited Oman in 2015, a 17 per cent jump from 2014, with the Gulf nation expecting a double-digit increase in the numbers this year as well, an official of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism said on Wednesday.
"We are expecting a double-digit increase in tourists from India this and the next year. Oman received 2,99,022 Indian nationals in 2015, reflecting a 17 per cent increase over 2014. This also reflects a growth of 60 per cent in the number of Indians travelling to Oman in the last five years," Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative of Oman’s Tourism Ministry, told reporters here.
The figure also includes Indians residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, she said.
"Though October to March is the best season to visit Oman, we have seen Indians visiting in the months of April and May as well. It is becoming a year-round destination," according to Asma Al Hajry, Deputy Director general, International Tourism, in the Tourism Ministry.
Laying strong emphasis on luxury travel, the Tourism Ministry is pegging Oman as a prime wedding destination. Around 10 destination weddings have been organised in the oil-rich country in the past two years.
"From India, we have done at least two in the first quarter. We have got at least three weddings lined up in the next few months. The wedding season is between October and March," Sheerazi said.
The ministry conducted a day-long road show in Kolkata, its first in the eastern metropolis after identifying the city as a new market for Oman.
To strengthen connectivity with east India, Oman Air said the city is on its radar.
"We have 11 flights to India and desire to make Kolkata the 12th," said Sunil V.A., Regional Vice-President, ISC, at Oman Air.
"We are looking for evolved travellers and not first-time travellers. We want travellers who appreciate history and authenticity," Sheerazi said, adding the nation has garnered attention among the self-driving clientele.